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Give us $1bn to industrialise Nigeria, MAN tells FG

The manufacturing group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has called on the federal government to give it about $1bn as a trial and see if the entire country will not be full of industries. This is coming as the 30th Lagos International Trade Fair kicked off yesterday at the usual Tafawa Balewa Square, Victoria Island, Lagos.

The group said only such appropriation will deepen industrial activities and help the sector contribute to the national economy.

President of the association, Dr. Frank Jacobs, commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for its recent interventions in the forex market targeting critical sectors.

Jacobs said, “I am happy that they are becoming more sensitive to our needs. The $500m will help but not in a very significant way. It is going to take a lot to satisfy the forex demand of the manufacturing sector. If $1bn is allocated to the sector, it will make a significant difference, especially now that the operators are looking inwards for raw materials.”

It would be recalled that in October, the apex bank released $314m for forward payment to clear a backlog of forex requests by operators in the manufacturing, agriculture and aviation sectors.

The apex bank also settled $270.6m in notional value of the matured October 26, 2016 futures instrument.

Besides, since the introduction of the Over the Counter forex futures, the central bank issued a new 12-month tenor instrument (October 25, 2017) worth $1bn at N258.50/US$1.00 to replace the maturing instrument.

The apex bank in a release had stated that it was intervening in the forex market through the Special Secondary Market sales.

CBN said “In order to further engender market confidence, ensure access to FX by end users and sustain the integrity of the Nigerian inter-bank FX market, the CBN has resolved to intervene in the inter-bank FX market through forward settlement.

“This is an important one-off exercise dedicated to the clearance of the backlog of matured FX obligations for: raw materials and machineries for manufacturing companies; agricultural chemicals; and airlines.”

In November, the apex bank injected another $500m into the market specifically for the manufacturing sector.